Behaviour Economics – Environment Change


A. Nayar
This is an initiative by 'Chrysalis' to make a difference in the way we address the Climate Challenge Regulation and the coping mechanism of vulnerable communities juxtaposed with legal solutions.
"You are not just a Drop in the ocean, but an Entire Ocean in a drop"

These words from Rumi will resonate with all those who wish to embark on the challenging journey to Make a Difference. Urban Legend portrays this journey as slaying infinite Goliaths, no less, one Judith or David at a time. However, twenty first century Climate Challenges don't provide us the luxury of this slow placed linear narrative or the unrestricted space for a singular 'battle to end all battles'. The policy space is swamped by conflicting claims and interest groups, crowding out complex solutions involving regulation or penalties. Instead of a big ticket silver bullet, what is feasible is a symphony of individual actions, orchestrated towards a common goal. It is upon us to trigger desirable individual action one Nudge after another unobtrusive Nudge.

As you read this, parts of India are facing crippling drought. Down south, Tamil Nadu is caught in this unforgiving cycle of crippling drought, on the back of catastrophic floods, preceded by more droughts. Undoubtedly, water is the most potent Weapon of Mass Destruction (WMD) of the Climate Goliath. Therefore, there is no better place to start slaying the Goliath than water. As Auden wrote "Thousands have lived without love but none without Water".

For me this journey which started four years ago has culminated in the understanding that tackling environmental & critical Resource issues requires a symphony of legal solutions and individual & collective behavior change.

I have lived this journey through the eyes & actions of innumerable farmers, thousands of children, five large schools, few thousand city families, committed Change Champions, many academicians & Government officials and the overreaching collaboration of CEC. Our collective work has three distinct strands.

First, 'Fewer Drops per Grain'. Recognizing that agriculture consumes eighty percent of fresh water an appropriate technology – Crop Water Assessment Device (CWAD) has been developed to control flood irrigation in rice. CWAD is based on educating farmer & providing knowledge of root zone moisture with a visual feedback. The visual Nudge cautions the farmer on the need to stop waterful irrigation.
These three strands together provide a concerted platform to slay the various Goliaths of Climate change.

Second, 'Shut the Tap' A Nudge program, inspired by Behavioral Economics and Theory of Decision points, focused on influencing the behavior of city families especially their children in conserving water and reducing its wastage.

Third, the 'Water Book' for primary & secondary school children focused on Building Awareness and Knowledge about water, as a precious resources devoured by the Climate Goliath. This has been the deepest labour of love for many of us.